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Explore Manassas National Battlefield Park – Part I


Even if you are not familiar with this area, it is likely you have heard of Manassas National

Battlefield Park (or “The Manassas Battlefields”). Steeped in Civil War history, this park marks

the official start of the American Civil War. It is a destination attraction for both local residents

and visitors throughout the world. Here is a little about the history and the park itself.

The First Battle of Manassas

Manassas National Battlefield Park is an important part of American History. On these

battlefields, a bloody clash of armies took place. Beginning on July 21, 1861, the First Battle of

Manassas, sometimes known as the Battle of Bull Run, erupted on these battlefields.

Here’s the back story. Some 35,000 men in Gen. Irvin McDowell’s Union army began the

campaign to capture Richmond and end the war. Many of these men were 90-day volunteers

summoned by President Lincoln after Fort Sumter. These volunteers worked in shops and on

farms, and had little to know knowledge of combat.

The goal was for McDowell to seize the junction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at the

Manassas Gap Railroad. If he could seize this, it would give him the best overland approach to

the Confederate capital.

Five miles ahead of the Union soldiers were 22,000 troops led by Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard,

guarding every ford from Union Mills to the Stone Bridge. McDowell tried to move toward the

Confederate right flank, but his troops were checked, and he was forced to scout the left flank.

Meanwhile, Beauregard asked the Confederate government for help, and they sent 10,000 troops

led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Johnston’s men arrived at the Manassas Junction and marched

directly into battle.

This battle is where the famous quote that gave Stonewall Jackson his moniker came about.

Barnard Bee famously said during this battle, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!” With all

the reinforcements brought in by the Confederacy, the Union soon realized retreat was their only

option. By July 22, the Union troops began their trek back to Washington.

Historical Sites from this Battle

– Statue of General Thomas J. Jackson – Located near Henry Hill and the visitor’s center,

you can see this statue of Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson sitting on his horse. This

statue commemorates the First Battle of Manassas.

– Stone House – This house served as a field hospital for both the First and Second Battles

of Manassas. It was mostly used for Confederate soldiers during both battles and was so

close to the fighting, it was occasionally hit by shells and shot. Two wounded soldiers

found their way to the second floor during the Second Battle of Manassas and carved

their names into the floor, where they can still be seen today.

– Henry House – During the First Battle of Manassas the owner of this home, Judith Carter

Henry, was approximately 85 years old and bedridden. She refused to leave her bedroom

as Confederate snipers used the house to shoot from. She was killed by a Union shell

meant for these snipers, making her the first civilian casualty of this battle. After the

battle, it’s rumored that the remains of the house were chipped away and taken by

sightseers as souvenirs. It was rebuilt in 1870 and eventually donated to the National Park

Service in 1940.

It is easy to see why military, civilians, students of all ages and groups flock to this battlefield for

not only a day of learning, but experiencing what life must have been like for those caught up in

the temporary breakdown of our country.

Next week we will delve into the history of the Second Battle of Manassas and explore hiking at

Manassas National Battlefield Park. Stay tuned.

Chris Colgan is the CEO and Team Leader of the Chris Colgan Real Estate Team. Chris was

born and raised in Gainesville, Virginia and has been in real estate for 10 years. He is a member

of the Re/Max Hall of Fame and is in the top 25 for sales in the state of Virginia out of all

Re/Max agents. He has been recognized as one of the United States’ and Canada’s Top 500

Marketing Experts by the National Association of Expert Advisors.

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